5.08.1 — Formation and Duties of the Public Safety Oversight Committee

Introduction

The Public Safety Oversight Committee (“Oversight Committee”) is an impartial body through which any person may make a complaint about the actions of a University law enforcement officer or the Department of Public Safety and Police Services. The Oversight Committee will receive and address complaints to ensure that the University remediates any misconduct.

The Oversight Committee recognizes the responsibility of the Department of Public Safety and Police Services to safeguard the rights of all members of the University community.  The University also must comply with State law by creating and maintaining an Oversight Committee for the Department of Public Safety and Police Services.  Moreover, the Oversight Committee promotes public trust and confidence by receiving and addressing complaints.  The Oversight Committee may make recommendations to the Vice President for Administration regarding disciplinary measures to be taken regarding the Department or any University law enforcement officer who is found responsible for misconduct.

The Oversight Committee has no power to change or modify State law, University ordinance, contracts with duly recognized bargaining units, or Departmental policies and procedures.  If in the judgment of the Oversight Committee changes in policies or procedures are necessary, it is the responsibility of the Committee to recommend such changes to the Vice President for Administration.

These procedures are in support of University Policy 5.08 Public Safety Oversight Committee.

Procedure

MEMBERSHIP ON THE PUBLIC SAFETY OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

The Oversight Committee shall consist of two faculty members, two staff members, and two students from the currently enrolled student body, each of whom were nominated and elected by the faculty, students and staff of the University.  One of the two faculty members shall be elected as Chairperson of the Committee.

COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

Any person may file a complaint against a University law enforcement officer or the Department of Public Safety and Police Services with the Oversight Committee by emailing psoversight-l@mtu.edu, in person at MTU OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE, c/o MTU Human Resources, Lakeshore Center, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI, 49331, or by calling 906-487-2800.  All University Departments and employees receiving a complaint should forward the information to the Oversight Committee at the above addresses.  The Oversight Committee shall notify the Vice President for Administration of all complaints.

COMPLAINT INVESTIGATIONS

Upon receiving a complaint, the Oversight Committee shall convene, with MTU Human Resources also present, to determine whether the complaint warrants further investigation, including, but not limited to, contacting the complaining party to obtain a written, signed complaint, if possible.  If the complaint is sufficiently credible to warrant investigation, the Oversight Committee shall address the matter by taking one of the following actions:  (i) gathering data through the Human Resources Department for any necessary fact-finding or questioning; (ii) gathering data from the Department of Public Safety; or (iii) in consultation and coordination with the Human Resources Department, requesting the assistance of an outside agency, in appropriate circumstances, to conduct an investigation.

The Oversight Committee may hold a hearing to pose questions to any University law enforcement officer, member of the Department of Public Safety and Police Services, or other employee or person as to information related to the complaint.  The Oversight Committee may request that the complaining party address the Oversight Committee.  The Oversight Committee may request that the Department of Public Safety and Police Services provide other information or documentation relevant to the issues presented.  The Oversight Committee may also request information from other University departments (and others) as necessary to address the matter.

In addressing the complaint, if the Oversight Committee requests assistance from the Department of Public Safety and Police Services, the Director of the Department of Public Safety and Police Services shall provide a written report (consistent with MACP MLEAC standards) to the Oversight Committee (cc: MTU Human Resources) as to the information sought.  After receiving the report, the Oversight Committee may either ask the Director to perform further investigation or accept the Director’s report as is before proceeding further.

The Oversight Committee, the Department of Public Safety and Police Services, and the University as a whole shall act consistently with State law, University Ordinance, contracts with duly recognized bargaining units, and University policies and procedures.  Whenever a University law enforcement officer is under investigation for misconduct, he/she shall have the following rights under the current MTU POA Collective Bargaining Agreement:

  1. To be notified of the name and the official capacity, if any, of all persons present during any interrogation of the employee [officer].
  2. To be notified of the nature of the questioning before any questions are directed to him/her.
  3. To have present another member of his/her choosing.
  4. To have present another member or an attorney of his/her choosing, if the investigation or interrogation involves criminal charges, or if he/she is under arrest.
  5. To refuse to answer any questions if any of the above rights are denied him/her.
  6. To be notified if any conversation is being recorded by either party prior to the conversation.
  7. Prior to any employee being charged or disciplinary action taken about any citizen complaint, the complainant shall present the complaint in writing to the Director of Public Safety. Said complaint shall be signed by the complainant.

Before any questioning occurs, the investigator shall provide a responding University law enforcement officer with an Investigation Admonishment form, attached as Appendix A, for his or her review and signature.  If a University law enforcement officer declines to speak at a hearing of the Oversight Committee, the Oversight Committee shall request assistance from Human Resources to question him or her in some other manner.

COMPLAINT RESOLUTION

Following the investigation of any complaint, the Oversight Committee shall submit a written report to the Vice President for Administration summarizing the results of the investigation (cc: Human Resources).  The Oversight Committee may recommend that no further action is necessary, that disciplinary action be taken against the University law enforcement officer or the Department of Public Safety and Police Services, or that additional investigation is needed.  The Vice President for Administration shall review the report and any accompanying recommendations and make a final determination.  The complaining party and the responding University law enforcement officer (and the Director and Chief, Public Safety, and Police Services) shall be notified of the determination (cc: Human Resources).

CONFIDENTIALITY

The Oversight Committee and the University shall treat all complaints and resulting investigations as confidential except as required by law or as specified in University policy or procedure.  While complaints may be submitted anonymously, the University may be unable to fully investigate and/or take disciplinary action against a University law enforcement officer unless a signed complaint is submitted.

Any involuntary statement (which means statements or answers to questions compelled by threat of discharge) by a responding University law enforcement officer shall be treated as a confidential communication that is not open to public inspection.  The statement may be disclosed by the University only under 1 or more of the following circumstances:

(a)  With the written consent of the law enforcement officer who made the statement.

(b)  To a prosecuting attorney or the Attorney General pursuant to a search warrant, subpoena, or court order, including an investigative subpoena issued under chapter VIIA of the code of criminal procedure, 1927 PA 175, MCL 767a.1 to 767a.9.  However, a prosecuting attorney or Attorney General who obtains an involuntary statement under this subdivision shall not disclose the contents of the statement except to a law enforcement agency working with the prosecuting attorney or Attorney General or as ordered by the court having jurisdiction over the criminal matter or, as constitutionally required, to the defendant in a criminal case.

(c) To officers of, or legal counsel for, the law enforcement agency [University] or the collective bargaining representative of the law enforcement officer, or both, for use in an administrative or legal proceeding involving a law enforcement officer's employment status with the law enforcement agency or to defend the law enforcement agency or law enforcement officer in a criminal action.  However, a person who receives an involuntary statement under this subdivision shall not disclose the statement for any reason not allowed under this subdivision, or make it available for public inspection, without the written consent of the law enforcement officer who made the statement.

(d)  To legal counsel for an individual or employing agency for use in a civil action against the employing agency or the law enforcement officer.  Until the close of discovery in that action, the court shall preserve by reasonable means the confidentiality of the involuntary statement, which may include granting protective orders in connection with discovery proceedings, holding in camera hearings, or ordering any person involved in the litigation not to disclose the involuntary statement without prior court approval.

MEETING MINUTES

The Chairperson will assign a fellow Oversight Committee member to record the minutes of the meetings.  The minutes will be submitted to the Chairperson within 15 days after the meeting for review and then distributed to all Oversight Committee members.

PRESS RELEASES

No member of the Oversight Committee will make any press releases related to a complaint or investigation without the express consent of the MTU Vice President for Administration.  The Director of University Marketing and Communications (UMC) or the UMC Director’s designee will approve any and all such press releases.

INTERVIEWS

All requests made of committee members for interviews of any type relating to the Oversight Committee shall be routed through and approved by the Committee Chair.  Only questions dealing in general with the committee, its membership, and its function within the community will be accepted.  Specific cases will not be discussed.


Revisions

09/12/2017 Major updates to the procedure language and specifications of the processes were made. Please review the old procedures here: Outdated Procedures 5.08.1
04/10/2017 Transfer of policy page from HTML to CMS. Business and Finance numbers renamed from "2.5000" to "5. Campus and Facilities". Specifically from "2.5008.1 — Formation and Duties of the Public Safety Oversight Committee" to "5.08.1 — Formation and Duties of the Public Safety Oversight Committee".